RELIGIOUS leaders have called on President Obama to respond
"compassionately" to the mounting humanitarian crisis along the
Texas border, where thousands of unaccompanied children have been
trying to cross over from Central America.
In the past nine months, United States border officials say they
have come across 52,000 unaccompanied minors, owing largely to a
dramatic rise in the number of children fleeing from gang-related
and other violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
President Obama has called for $3.7 billion in emergency
funding: some of which would be spent on speeding up deportations,
as Republicans say they will support the plan only if there is
emphasis on immediate repatriation.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United
States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, spoke of the US's "chequered
history" over immigration: "The influx of vulnerable people . . .
continues to challenge the United States to respond
compassionately." She urged Episcopalians to contact their
representatives in Congress and ask them to "support an appropriate
President Obama flew to Texas last week to meet local
politicians and the State Governor, Rick Perry, one of his chief
Republican critics. Mr Perry has said that he will not support the
$3.7 billion request, saying that the President should be sending
the National Guard to the border to tighten security.
Also present at the meeting with the President was the director
of disaster recovery for the Texas Baptist Convention, Chris
Liebrum. He told the Christian Post: "Our message and
focus is on the children. We need to care for the children who are
here now. . . It's the lack of a good immigration policy as to why
this crisis - this disaster - has come about."